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A Trap with Your Free Time

Make time for yourself for BIGG SuccessBIGG success is life on your own terms. One of the five elements of BIGG success is play.

Leisure. Rest and relaxation. Recreation. Down time.

We often make a mistake when we think of play: When we envision play, we picture others.

Do you do so too?

It’s a trap. You’ll be much happier if you reserve a portion of your play time just for you.

Time to converse

You need some time to yourself. Just like any other relationship, you have to invest in your relationship with yourself.

You need to listen to yourself. You need to learn from yourself. You need to talk to yourself.

Not out loud. Unless you’re alone!

Time to refresh

You need time to refresh. Physically, of course. But you probably do okay with that one.

You need to make time to refresh your spirit. To feed your soul. And one way to do that is to spend some time alone.

Quietly. With just your thoughts.

Time to dream

To refect. And to dream. To envision BIGG success.

To live out in your mind what you will live out in real life. Because every victory is first won in the recesses of your mind.

And so, you need to make time for yourself. So you can tend to yourself. So you can refuel. So you can keep the flame burning.

Now, we know that this is a scary proposition to some people. But give it try.

It may seem strange at first. You may be uncomfortable. But most growth is uncomfortable.

In time, you will grow to appreciate this time. To treasure it, even.

Go someplace that inspires you. Get out in nature, if that’s your thing. We like to be near water.

It’s okay to be around other people. Just try to find a place where they’re not likely to be people you know.

Make time for you. Time to converse, to refresh, to dream. It leads to BIGG success!

Do you make time for yourself?

Image in this post from stock.xchng

The Work-Play Tradeoff

playgroundWe recently saw an interesting study on how work affects high school students [pdf]. While the study is about high school students, we think us older “kids” can learn a thing or two from it as well.

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How does work affect homework?

The researchers examined how each hour of paid work affected the way high school students spent the rest of their time. They found that each hour of work reduced homework time by about five minutes, on average.

Sleep less

They cut back more than twice that amount – ten minutes total – on sleep. Maybe young people really are looking at us as role models!

Screen pass

The single biggest activity that they reduced was screen time – the average student spent 24 minutes less for every hour worked. The researchers defined screen time as:

  • watching television and movies
  • using the computer for leisure (except games)
  • surfing the internet
  • participating in chat room discussions

Setting priorities

Previous studies have shown that working only has a small negative effect on an average student’s performance. The researchers in this study conclude that they may have explained part of the reason. It may be that students who work cut back mostly on non-productive activities.

Why do busy people get more done?

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georgeThere’s that old saying, “If you want something done, get a busy person to do it.” I’ve found that on days when I have to get a lot done, I do. On days when there isn’t much on the agenda, I seem to step into a more leisurely pace and often don’t accomplish as much as I want. I do better when I keep a certain amount of stress on myself.

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marylynnI’m with you, George. When I have a lot on the to-do list, I’m more focused and less willing to allow for diversions.

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georgePeople who had juggled work and school were often my best employees. Their grades may have suffered a little, but the skills they learned about managing their time improved their performance in their full-time gig.

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marylynnWhen I think back to my high school days, I had a part-time job. I was a straight “A” student and was involved in several extracurricular activities – band, theater, and the speech team. I don’t know how I did it all! I certainly always had something to do. I was practicing for a competition or a show, doing homework or working. As a result, I can’t tell you much about the hit TV shows in the late 80s.

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georgeBut you know all about the music of that era! You’re a prime example of the students in this research study, Mary-Lynn. You pretty much eliminated unproductive play time. Your play time had a purpose.

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Don’t get too down on down time

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marylynnBut I could have benefited from some play time just for fun. I could have used the time to relax and get in touch with myself.

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georgeI completely understand what you’re saying. I think down time is so important. I often find that’s when I work out a solution to a problem that I’ve had trouble resolving. I may be looking at the screen, but I’m lost in my own thoughts. And it’s a good thing! I’m away from the pressure of the situation and my brain just flows.

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In our down time, we may be more creative than we are in a more structured environment. So it’s good not to underestimate its value.

Work time is good because it helps us stay more focused.

Productive play is good because it helps us expand our capacity.

But be careful that you don’t get so busy that you don’t allow any time for purely play.

How has down time helped you?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today.

Please join us next time when talk about what to do if life on your own terms creates conflict with the people around you.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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Play at Work

(Image in today's post by ba1969)

Taking Time Off to Get More Done

work See if you can relate to this. You push and push and push, burning the candle at both ends – the early bird meets the midnight oil burner. Day after day – six, seven days a week – week after week. Finally, you reach a point where your mind and your body say, “Enough already!”

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We recently experienced this, so we listened … for a change. We crashed! We took some time to decompress. We often don’t realize how tired we are, how much we need the time away from our work.

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georgeWhen I was a graduate student, I worked in the Undergraduate Advising Office. As one weekend approached, I asked the Dean how his weekend was looking. He replied, with a little frown on his face and his shoulders drooping slightly, “Ugh. It’s not good. We have plans on Friday night and again on Saturday.” Or he might say, “Oh, I can’t wait. We don’t have anything planned for the whole weekend!” I didn’t understand his thinking at the time, but now I see the wisdom in it!

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So that’s how it went for us last weekend. It was great to wake up in the morning and realize there was nothing on the to-do list – nothing we had to do, nowhere we had to be.

We work crazy hours like many, if not most, business owners … especially those of us in the early stages of our businesses. But at a certain point, it becomes counter-productive.

We spend time doing what we do, but we don’t do as much as we could if we got a little rest, some time away to decompress. So we realized that we needed to learn from this.

As bigg goal-getters, we push ourselves to extremes. But we learned it can be counter-productive. On top of our business keeping us busy, we’re pretty social people. But sometimes it’s good to say no to just about everything and just have time to yourself.

We admit that we aren’t so good at work-life balance. We do a relatively good job of integrating our personal and professional lives. We can turn on a dime – talking about work one minute and moving to the personal the next. But we need more than that as we learned this past week.

We realized that the only way that we will take the time off we need is to treat it like everything else we want to get done. We put it on our calendars!

We’re saying “No” to seven days week. We need a day off every week. God did. Why should we think we don’t? Every other week, we’re setting aside two days.

Now it doesn’t mean we won’t work per se. It just means we won’t have a to-do list chockfull of things that we must do.

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georgeI love to do research. I find it very relaxing. While I try to fit in a little research time every day – and to some extent I’m always in research mode looking for show topics – it’s great to do research at a leisurely pace.

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marylynnAnd I’m a gadget girl. I love to play with my techie tools. That’s one of my roles in our business. I enjoy looking at new technologies and seeing how we might use them in our business. When I’m just searching and having fun, it doesn’t feel like work.

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So we’re still integrating work and play. We’re just planning our play better so that it feels more like play and less like work. Because you know what they say about all work and no play!

When we work, we want to be highly productive because our work is still a means to an end, not an end in itself. We love our work, but we love it more when we’re refreshed.

And we get more done. This week, we’ve accomplished a whole lot because we had more energy because we took time to decompress. So that’s your motivation … take some time off so you get more done!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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When it comes to our personal finances, we hear a lot about savers and spenders. But there’s a third category we rarely hear about. And it’s the one we really should strive to be. Join us next time to see what it is.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Now plan some time off! Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00335-022009.mp3

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(Image in today's post by biewoef)

Game Date

games We’re sitting here on a cold winter’s night. It’s too cold to go out, but who needs to anyway?

The stereo’s cranking tunes in the background. The fireplace is going. We made hot chocolate. And we’re playing Battleship!

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It’s what people used to do in the “days of yore” (we couldn’t resist the cheesy reference) – invest a few bucks in a board game, spend time together as a family, and have some fun.

We don’t often think about it, but games aren’t just child’s play. They’re a great way to relax and refine crucial skills at the same time.

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marylynnLike Battleship. Obviously it’s a strategy game, but I find that it also helps me with concentration and memorization.

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georgeOr you can create a system. Like I use the pegs to record what I’ve said that was a direct hit. Just like the real world, learning to create systems helps make life easier.

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You can build up your vocabulary by playing Scrabble. We would say more about this but we’re at a loss for words!

How about Operation? It will help you focus on your manual dexterity. Trivial Pursuit is a great way to build up your knowledge, but you will also find some great conversation starters, or conversational continuers. Just don’t turn into another Cliff Claven … constantly spouting off things nobody cares about!

Yes, we’re spending an evening together – enjoying the competition and the relaxation – but we’re not spending any money! So make a game date – it’s an economical way to refine your skills while relaxing and having fun with your family and friends!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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We’re so thankful you chose to spend some time with us today. Join us next time when we talk about a controversial issue – should you and your spouse have separate accounts? Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00325-020609.mp3

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It's Your Choice

thanksgiving

Today we want to discuss preferences – making the right choices for ourselves – and how our preferences affect our relationship with others and with ourselves.

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marylynnI was talking with my dad the other day. He’s really looking forward to Thanksgiving Day because he is going to cook all day. My dad is the make-everything-from-scratch kind of guy. He just can’t wait. For him, it’s going to be super-relaxing and he’s excited about it. I, on the other hand, would hate that. I can’t see how cooking and doing dishes all day is fun and relaxing.

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georgeAs we were talking about this, we realized that we assess other people, and what they’re doing, based on our own preferences.

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marylynnObviously, I don’t think what my dad’s doing is wrong. I’m happy for him that he’s excited. It’s just that it’s not what I would want to do.

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georgeI’m closer to your league, Mary-Lynn. If we were doing this whole thing ourselves, there would be a lot of semi-homemade cooking – out of the box with modifications stuff.

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marylynnI’m all about the Stove Top stuffing and getting a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, so you don’t have to carve it. I guess what I’m saying here is that my choice is to be lazy!

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georgeWhich works fine on Thanksgiving Day for you. But I think sometimes we look at other people and wonder why in the world they’re doing what they’re doing. Like with what your dad’s doing – it works for him and brings him joy.

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The perfect meal

Then sometimes we make choices for ourselves based on what we think other people expect from us. We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Let’s keep the Thanksgiving theme going. We think we have to have the perfect meal – we have to serve the dinner on the china, the stuffing has to be homemade, we have to make the pies from scratch.

It’s what we’ve always done

We put all these pressures on ourselves because we think that’s what our guests expect. Those expectations may be based on tradition – this is what we’ve always done. Just because we’ve “always done” something doesn’t mean we should necessarily feel pressure to keep doing it every single time, or any time for that matter! There should be a good reason for it. 

Guilt

If you are strapped for time, if you are tuckered out, why put yourself through all of this extra work? You could just get a store-bought pie or call someone and ask them to make one or pick one up.

But if we do that, we feel guilty. Because we’re not doing what’s always been done, because our family’s going to expect that everything is going to be perfect – we’re going to have the homemade pie, the stuffing is going to be made from scratch, the turkey will be nice and golden, fresh out of the oven, ready to carve.

Who really expects it?

We do all of these things because we feel these expectations even though the people around us may not. We place all of this pressure on ourselves!

We may do this because we want everything to be perfect. That’s fine as long as it’s really your choice and you’re not doing it because you feel guilty if you don’t do it.

Conscious choices

Maybe if you really thought about it, and you talked with your loved ones, you might decide that the best solution is to go out for Thanksgiving dinner. Or have spaghetti with turkey meatballs!

That’s the point – it doesn’t matter what you do if you consciously make the choice. If it works for you and the people you care about, then it works! And this doesn’t just apply to Thanksgiving dinner!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Today we give thanks to you for joining us here. Next time, we’ll look at close encounters of the rude kind. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00272-112508.mp3

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(Image by bjearwicke)